Contextual features of problem-solving and social learning give rise to spurious associations, the raw materials for the evolution of rituals

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (6):617-618 (2006)
Abstract
If rituals persist in part because of their memory-taxing attributes, from whence do they arise? I suggest that magical practices form the core of rituals, and that many such practices derive from learned pseudo-causal associations. Spurious associations are likely to be acquired during problem-solving under conditions of ambiguity and danger, and are often a consequence of imitative social learning. (Published Online February 8 2007).
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DOI 10.1017/S0140525X06009381
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